The Hiram Award
The Hiram award is the single highest honor a Mason in California may receive, if so elected by committee. It is awarded by the Grand Lodge of the Masonic Jurisdiction, and presented by the regional inspector. Each Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons has the ability to award this lifetime achievement award to a deserving brother of their Lodge, once per annum. It is common for years to go by, without awarding one. The Award consists of a Gold and Silver Medallion on a blue ribbon accompanied by a certificate of recognition. The Medallion depicts the square and compass, the letter “G”, and a wreath of Laurel.
“The Hiram award is presented to a Brother Master Mason who unselfishly dedicates his efforts, lends his talents, and goes to great lengths for the benefit of his Lodge, the Masonic Fraternity and his community.”
By exhibiting Masonic virtue in his daily life, a prospective Hiram Award Candidate may show he is worthy to receive such an award. The Hiram award may not be requested, sought or applied for, it is earned and awarded by a lifetime of dedication to the craft and the brotherhood, going over and above what might be expected of his office or station.
The Hiram Award recipient is not required to be an officer of the Lodge, or any special lodge committee, but they often are. The recipient must be a Master Mason in good standing with his Lodge, as well as the Grand Lodge of the jurisdiction.
A lodge may elect the award to be given only once per year and the award may only be received once in a lifetime, by a Master Mason. It is a great honor and pleasure to receive such an award, knowing it comes directly from the Brethren of your Lodge, friends, and community.
Hiram Award History
The Hiram award was first presented by San Pedro Lodge no.332 of California to Andrew D. Miller, P.M. in 1964. This lifetime achievement award program was originally created by the Grand Lodge of California, and has inspired many other jurisdictions to create separate programs for Hiram Awards. The awardees from Texas Lodge no.46 are documented on this wall plaque, which hangs above our Tyler’s register.
Who was Hiram?
The Masonic Legend of Hiram Abiff is central to Freemasonry. He was an architect, and Master Builder with stone, who was the son of a widow of the tribe of Napthali in Tyre. The Napthali tribe was one of the many northern tribes if Israel, who joined with David, who became ruler of the kingdom of Israel.
Much of the Masonic Legend takes place in the time of King David, and his successor King Solomon the king of Israel. It was none other than Hiram Abiff, who was the lead architect and master builder for the project of building King Solomon’s temple on Mount Moriah. The bible (1Kings, Chapters 6-8) outlines the building of this first temple with the assistance and aid of king Hiram of Tyre, (modern day Lebanon) who provided the labor, workmen, masons and craftsmen, and building materials. King Hiram and Hiram Abiff are two distinct people, but are often confused.
This first temple of Solomon was a great feat of Masonry. It took seven years to complete, and employed 150K workmen. When the temple was completed it was expected that each workman would earn the title of Master Mason, he having learned all the various dimensions and jobs of a Mason and builder in stone.
Masonic Legend continues, to inform us that there were some workmen who were not quite patient enough to learn the trade, and naturally gain mastery of masonries many ways and means. A few became dissatisfied with the long wait to know the secrets of a Master Mason, and attempted to extort these secrets from Hiram Abiff, the boss. See, a Master Mason was the senior supervisor on the building site. He was also paid a bit more than the less experienced workers.
Degrees of Masonry
When one begins the trade, he is knows as an Entered Apprentice. After years of experience he earns the title of Fellowcraft, or “fellow of the craft“. Only after Mastering all the skills of a mason, as well as architecture would a mason become a Master Mason.
More of the Legend of Hiram Abiff can be read at Hiram Abiff – Wikipedia